Hyundai Kona facelift launched in Malaysia – 2.0L NA CVT only, Active now with AEB, RM120k to RM137k

Hyundai Kona facelift launched in Malaysia – 2.0L NA CVT only, Active now with AEB, RM120k to RM137k

Less than six months after the launch of the Hyundai Kona in Malaysia, Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has introduced the facelifted version here. Having dragged its feet with the previous model, the company has now gone super aggressive, bringing in the refreshed B-segment crossover so soon after its international debut.

Two variants are available at launch, the base 2.0 priced at RM119,888 on-the-road without insurance and the 2.0 Active at RM136,888. These figures are RM4,000 and RM2,000 cheaper respectively compared to the outgoing models at 2021 prices (the introductory prices for the latter were lower by the tune of RM8,000, but those was only applicable last year).

The company has also announced that the sportier N Line model will be offered later on, likely powered by a 1.6 litre T-GDi engine. Prices for these made-in-Korea models include a 50% reduction in the sales and service tax (SST), a five-year/300,000 km warranty and a three-year/50,000 km free service package.

The sole engine option is the carryover 2.0 litre Nu MPI Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, rechristened the Smartstream G2.0 MPI but making the same 149 PS at 6,200 rpm and 180 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm. The gearbox, however, has been switched from a six-speed automatic to an Intelligent Variable Transmission (iVT), effectively a CVT driven by a chain instead of a belt. Lifted from the Elantra, it has eight virtual speeds and enables the Kona to get from zero to 100 km/h three tenths of a second faster at 9.7 seconds.

Hyundai Kona facelift launched in Malaysia – 2.0L NA CVT only, Active now with AEB, RM120k to RM137k

This particular facelift is a rather major one, introducing comprehensive exterior and interior changes. The entire front clip has been redesigned and sees greater use of contrasting body cladding (black for the 2.0, grey for the Active), plus the addition of a slimmer grille, a top-mounted Hyundai badge and a U-shaped silver skid plate surrounding the centre air intake. The four-lamp signature has been retained, but the upper daytime running light graphics have been reshaped and give off a sharper look than before.

On the Active, the DRLs also now double as indicators, freeing up space underneath for full-LED headlights in a scale-like design (the base model gets projector halogens). This look has been repeated at the rear of the Active model with its LED lower indicators (bulbs for the 2.0), set against a black background. The upper taillights, which again feature LEDs on the Active, have also been revised for a cleaner wide-set look.

The rear bumper design continues the design theme set by the front end, with increased cladding and a large skid plate. The alloy wheel options have also been revamped – the 2.0 gets surprisingly sporty-looking 17-inch turbine-style rollers, while the Active rides on 18-inch two-tone items with a criss-cross design.

Inside, the Kona receives a restyled centre console with a taller transmission tunnel and a new electronic parking brake to replace the previous handbrake, freeing up space for a storage compartment behind it. Also new are the air vents, which feature aluminium-effect surrounds, redesigned slats and a twist-to-close airflow control knob on the corner outlets.

The interior colour options have also been streamlined, with the Active now getting full black leather upholstery across the new Surfy Blue, Misty Jungle (a blueish grey) and Ignite Flame (red) exterior paints. However, the also-new Dive In Jeju (a paler blue) and carryover Dark Knight (grey) hues come with light beige leather with curious dark red piping.

Meanwhile, the base model features black fabric trim to go with an exterior palette that is largely the same as before, including Chalk White, Pulse Red, Galactic Grey and aforementioned Surfy Blue. It should be noted that the Active is the only one to get a soft-touch dashboard, as before.

As for infotainment, the Kona’s standard-fit freestanding touchscreen is an inch larger than before, measuring eight inches across. No, it’s not the big 10.25-inch unit found in other markets, but it has a mildly revamped interface and, more importantly, now comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The Active goes one further by adding a 10.25-inch digital instrument display, the graphics of which can be customised according to the drive mode selected.

Hyundai Kona facelift launched in Malaysia – 2.0L NA CVT only, Active now with AEB, RM120k to RM137k

Speaking of drive modes, there’s a new rotary selector that replaces the previous push button. You’ll still find the usual Eco, Normal and Sport modes, but pushing the dial down takes you to an off-road-biased Traction Control Mode with an additional three settings – Snow, Mud and Sand. These make use of the stability and traction control systems to generate maximum grip, and in Sand mode the car will also adjust the transmission ratios to suit the terrain. The car is still front-wheel drive, mind you – no AWD trickery here.

Rounding out the new features are the standard-fit remote engine start function for the keyless entry system, plus a USB port and a centre cubby hole for rear occupants. The base model also comes with automatic headlights, push-button start, manual air-conditioning, manual seat adjustment, cruise control, a tyre pressure monitoring system, reverse sensors, a reverse camera and six speakers.

The Active adds front fog lights, single-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic wipers, a head-up display, front parking sensors and, oddly, heated door mirrors. Safety-wise, all models get six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist, hill descent control and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors.

But it’s the Active that has been given a big boost, receiving the SmartSense driver assistance systems previously only found on the 1.6 Turbo. These include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring (now with steering assistance), rear cross traffic alert (now with braking) and automatic high beam. It also gets four new features – lane centring assist (still no adaptive cruise control, though), front departure alert, a door opening warning and a rear seat reminder.

Under the skin, the Kona is now claimed to deliver a better ride while still maintaining a sporty character. The chassis tweaks include new anti-roll bars and rear bump stops to improve comfort and isolation, with the latter in particular helping to smooth out the primary ride and increase lateral body control. All models get new tyres that reduce rolling resistance, with the Active receiving Continental PremiumContact 6 rubber.

Hyundai has also improved the car’s refinement through specific changes to several areas, while the steering has been retuned to suit the revised suspension and tyres. The company says that the car now delivers a comfortable yet connected steering feel, with more linear and balanced weighting at all speeds.

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona 2.0 facelift

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active facelift

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Fariz on Apr 16, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Hyundai Stingray

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • (Like) Hyundai Kona FL.
      (Dislike) Toyota Corolla Cross

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 20
    • YB Albert on Apr 16, 2021 at 1:07 pm

      At close to Rm140K on the road,any carlover will tell you they can have a 180hp base X70 plus a Saga or persona.
      If Sime darby is thinking its Hyundai cars is Rolls Royce quality,they are sadly mistaken.
      In the minds of consumers,they are not on par with Toyota yet,but their pricing is unbelievably only for those who want nothing but a Hyundai.
      The 2020 Sonata at close to rm200K with an early bird hefty discount is still available.
      Perhaps,Sime darby is thinking of getting another carbrand like Naza Suzuki,if hyundai is failing here.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11
      • If you go anywhere in the world and ask them about Hyundai: “Oh yes, I’ve heard of them – they make good cars”

        If you go anywhere in the world and ask them about Proton: “Proton? What is that? Is that a Chinese knockoff brand?”

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  • GenY AEB on Apr 16, 2021 at 11:13 am

    RM 137k, got AEB – good.

    Otherwise, RM120k no different to old car.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • salgoodguy on Apr 16, 2021 at 11:14 am

    super attaractive price tag..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2
  • Mikalr on Apr 16, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Still don’t want to bring the new Tuscon smh

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • That cheap looking infotainment bezels can rival Corolla Altis fugliness

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 15
  • Impressive

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  • hondaman on Apr 16, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    weird backside…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • The trim and body color combi totally spoil it all, stupid them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  • konzilla on Apr 16, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    those who just buy pre facelift Kona: Am I a Joke To You?????????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Aura89 on Apr 16, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    Pre facelift Kona buyers got shafted after just 6 months of ownership.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • Firdaus on Apr 16, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    Sime Darby destroyed Alfa Romeo sales in Malaysia after taking over from Milan Auto due to excessive pricing.
    The same goes to Hyundai.

    Once Bermaz starts selling Kia’s at competitive prices, Sime Darby may have to give up rights to Hyundai!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  • Design is an upgrade. Hyundai had come of age quite a while ago having attained world-class and is forging ahead in design and tech. A good package at the asking price.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • Akira on May 15, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Sigh, they phased out Ioniq and no new offering for hybrid powertrains from Hyundai Malaysia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Y LEE on May 18, 2021 at 7:55 am

    I thought there was a recall on these Hyundai/KIAs for a potential fault on the fuel relays that can cause a spontaneous combustion?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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